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The Rachel Maddow Show

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Florida 35, Pennsylvania 26, George W. Bush 12, Us 12, John Mccain 10, Indiana 10, Vermont 9, Obama 8, Paul Ryan 7, Romney 7, Virginia 6, New Hampshire 5, Mr. Romney 5, Ryan 5, Barack Obama 5, Charlie Crist 4, Nate 4, Rick Scott 4, Peter Shumlin 4, Rachel 4,
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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show    News/Business. Politics, pop  
   culture and today's top stories.  

    November 3, 2012
    3:00 - 3:59am PDT  

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with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. on a personal note i just want to say one thing about this crisis, as for myself and those of us who work on this show we have been very lucky and very blessed this week as this disaster has unfolded in the communities we all live in. everyone on our staff is safe. nobody has been injured. our families are okay. a lot of us have property damage. no power and no water. almost all of us have been living out of suitcases, but we are all safe and that's what's important. i want to thank everybody who has been asking, you're all nice. but we're all all right. i want to show you one thing though. look at this video. this was taken this morning by our friend jessica rodriguez who is a producer on this show. and has been from the beginning. most nights jessica would be responsible for this show for
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making sure a piece of video like this made it onto the air. today she was at home on long island because this is the street where jessica lives. this is what her neighborhood looks like as of today. four days after the storm made landfall. jess was at home today working to assess the damage, clean up her flood-damaged home, to help her neighbors. while she was at home, a new york congressional delegation made its way down her block. you can see she was wearing her staff sweat shirt from the show, her trms sweat shirt when kerstin jill brand came up to talk to her. lyndon hurst, just this little flip cam video, this is the best way we know to show you how we all feel about this story that we are in the middle of. this disaster just indiscriminately took lives and uprooted lives and ruined a lot over a huge area affecting millions of americans. in a big area of the east coast, but also really specifically in this one part that we all live in, which is the most
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densely-populated place in this country. which means we're forced here in this particular part of america to be very interconnected. to be interdependent. to know thy neighbor because thy neighbor is very close to thee. and that is why we like it. it's part of the reason you live and work in a place like this. every day we strive to take a wide view, a fair view of what's happening in the world. to do our best job at communicating useful information to you about the news and politics and the world that we are in. but if you have been sensing some personal urgency in our telling this particular story, it's just because we cannot hide it. it's true. which is why i say it's a privilege to do this show this night following the big telethon to raise funds for the hurricane sandy relief effort. i may not ever endorse candidates. but by virtue of working here i'm allowed to tell you how wholeheartedly i personallien doris this message, that if you have the means to do so, even at a very small level, if you have the means to do so, you should
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donate to help the relief efforts for this disaster. if you want to donate by phone, the number is easy to remember. 1-800-help-now. online, you can go to redcross redcross.org or you can donate $10 by text. just text the words red cross to 90999. to make a $10 donation. when the power came back on in parts of lower manhattan tonight, late this afternoon and early tonight, you could hear the cheering from the lower east side of manhattan. sweet relief, it's been a long week. i'll tell you, there was some cheering here at our offices in midtown, too, when we saw that footage come through and we saw the live feed come through. throughout the night the lights have been coming on in some of our homes, as well. which is a cause for relief, and lots of gratitude and honestly, still lots of worry and consternation over the places that are still a long way out from coming back. a point of personal privilege, if you have not donated, think about whether you can.
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easy to remember. 1-800-help-now. i will leave it there. there's a lot to get to tonight. the new york city marathon was cancelled. the obama administration has announced plans to distribute up to 22 million gallons of gas and diesel in the recovery zone. which has been very hard-hit by fuel shortages. and oh, by the way, there's a national presidential election in four days. and yeah, there's some news about that, too. that is all ahead this next hour. we'll be right back. [ cat 1 ] i am not a vegetarian... look at these teeth! they're made for meat! [ cat 2 ] do i look like i'm stalking plants? [ male announcer ] most dry foods add plant protein, like gluten but iams never adds gluten. iams adds 50% more animal protein, [ cat 3 ] look at this body! under this shiny coat is a lean, mean purring machine [ cat 4 ] i am too! hahahaha! [ male announcer ] iams. with 50% more animal protein. [ cat 5 ] yum! [ cat 1 ] i'm an iams cat. feed me what i'm born to eat.
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it's now four days until the election and we have reached the point where the campaigns both start pounding their chests and say we're going to win, we're sure of it. both sides do this. i'm not sure why they do this other than the fact that trash talk is always fun in sports and
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in politics. but maybe there's a sense of people who haven't decided even at this late point in the game will want to side with the guy that's going to be the winner. but regardless, both sides do it every year. in the last few days before the vote in particular. that's why you're seeing david axelrod making a bet that if president obama does not win michigan and minnesota and pennsylvania, he will shave off his big famous mustache. he's betting his face. that's how confident he is. because this is the time in the campaign when you're supposed to project confidence. on the republican side, it's been a little more complicated. after a bad week of polling for mitt romney, top staffers held a conference call with reporters in which they enumerated all their reasons why they see mitt romney as a shoo-in to beat the
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president on tuesday despite all the latest battleground state polling. they suggested that their secret sauce that is more important than the polling is that mr. romney is winning independents. so there. romney has this thing in the bag. karl rove who is running the biggest dark money operation for the republicans this year, and therefore is as influential as ever, mr. rove took to "the wall street journal" this week to patiently explain to all these people who don't understand that these numbers that look so bad for mr. romney do not matter, or they're wrong. or they're wrong and they don't matter. because he says democrats are not winning early voting by enough. and he says the polls make assumptions about turnout that he describes as absurd. it also describes some intangible stuff that makes him believe mitt romney is going to win, things like crowd size and closing arguments. according to him, all of that stuff together shows that mitt romney is totally definitely going to win this thing. both are trying to convince the country it's obvious they are going to win.
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and i think it is worth listening to these arguments and checking qc if these arguments are based in good sense. but honestly, it's also worth recognizing that every campaign on both sides does this every time. for example, here is how this particular phenomenon looked the day before the election in 2008 when this bragging that we get every year was being done by a prominent john mccain republican surrogate named mitt romney. >> inside a campaign, what do you get on the inside that we don't get on the outside because you're doing your own polling? >> you see the widest array of polls. you look at mason dixon that came out yesterday. you take that apart. it's pretty close to the internal polls. what it shows is that john mccain is leading in the states he's got to lead in like ohio and florida. we're going to pick up pennsylvania. we'll think we got a real good shot in virginia, new hampshire, new mexico, nevada. you know, that's the pathway to
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victory for john mccain and we're excited. we're hoping to see a lot of people out there in chicago on election night with barack obama experiencing a long, cold night, as we learn that john mccrane surprised them and won. >> it's nice he wishes physical discomfort on his political enemies, just gratuitously throwing that in. but notice what exactly he was so confidently predicting there. the day before the election in 2008, it was mitt romney. these were his predictions for states that john mccain was definitely going to win. >> john mccain is leading in the states he's got to lead in like ohio and florida. we'll pick up pennsylvania. we think we have a good shot at virginia, new hampshire, new mexico, nevada. that's the pathway to victory for john mccain. >> you see how all those states were blue? mr. romney's confident predictions that john mccain was going to win ohio, florida, pennsylvania, virginia, new hampshire, new mexico and thef today in 2008 were wrong in every single instance.
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they lost every single one of those states. even though it seemed like he seemed quite confident that they were going to win all of those states the day before the election. he didn't say like he felt they were going to win. he said they have the polling data that showed they were going to win in all those states. and they did not win in any of those states. this is just part of the way the game is played. it's just bluffing. and that is important context for understanding what's going on in these last four days of the campaign. there are patterns to how presidential elections end. some of the same stuff happens every four years. specifically, in 1992, the republican candidate was poppy bush. george h.w. bush. the day before the election that year he went and campaigned in pennsylvania. and then the next day, he lost pennsylvania. the next election, 1996, republican candidate was bob dole. right before the election, bob dole went and campaigned in pennsylvania. then bob dole lost pennsylvania. in 2004 the republican was president george w. bush and the day before the election, george w. bush went and campaigned in
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pennsylvania. and then the next day, george w. bush lost pennsylvania. last time around as well the sunday before the election, there's republican john mccain, campaigning in pennsylvania. and then john mccain loses pennsylvania. right before the election, you can set your watch by it. the republican presidential contender will go and campaign in pennsylvania. and every year the media responds by saying, wow the republican is going to pennsylvania. maybe the republicans are going to win pennsylvania this year. does this mean the republicans are planning on winning pennsylvania this year? and the republicans say, yes, we're going there because we're going to win pennsylvania and they lose it every year. the reason they do this every year is because they want to be seen as super confident. they want to be seen as so confident they are expanding the map. they want to create the impression that not only are they going to win, they're going to win big, so they don't even need to go to any of these so-called battleground states anymore. they have locked all those up. they have the meat and potatoes. they are going for gravy.
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they are going to exotic states that nobody thinks they're going to win. because they're going to win those states, too. it's going to be a landslide. it's trash talk. you can understand why they are doing this, but there's no reason to pretend that it's unprecedented and there's no reason to write down the spin about what they're doing instead of checking the facts about whether what their argument actually made sense. checking the facts is easy to do. look at the polling in pennsylvania. there have been two dozen polls in pennsylvania since august first. of those two dozen polls, of those 24 polls, how many does president obama lead in? 24 of the 24. every single one. and look at the rest of mr. romney's campaign schedule. he's taking the one trip to pennsylvania that republicans always take. but other than that, he was in ohio and wisconsin today. he was scheduled to be in new hampshire, iowa and colorado in the final days. and he just spent the last couple days in florida and virginia. that means the map is not
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expanding. not if you can't afford to walk away from any of your battleground states to move on to more exotic locales. he is still flogging it out in the places where he has to win. where he is not sure he is going to win. all of this we're going to win stuff, it is a fake. it is a fakeout. it is a bluff. it is trash talk. and there's nothing wrong with it. it happens every year. you should just know that it is a dependable part of the end of presidential campaigns. but every once in awhile at the end of a presidential campaign, this expected feint, this attempt at a fakeout that everybody knows is coming, every once in awhile it is revealed as a fakeout. every once in awhile you get from the campaign a little inadvertent admission that they actually know they're going to lose. at least they know they might lose. at least they're making plans based on an expectations that they very well could lose. and when that happens, we know from insiders on campaigns past that it's very unsettling to the campaign and makes everybody inside the campaign very upset and they hope people do not
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notice that it has happened. that's what happened in 2008. it was right before the election and pro-palin conservatives started talking to the press publically floating her plans for after the election. not as vice president, but after the election after john mccain and sarah palin lost. their plans for her were published by "the new york times" seven days before election day. if mccain loses, she could emerge as a standard bearer for the movement and a potential presidential candidate in 2012. her prospects in or out of government are the subject of intensive conversations among conservative leaders. she's making sure she's well-positioned for the future if she and mr. mccain lose. that was a week before election day in 2008. sarah palin's plans for saving her own skin once they lost the election were being leaked by her allies. and we know from people inside that campaign it caused enormous tension inside the mccain/palin camp. so imagine how this went over this week in the romney campaign.
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all right. context here, you understand. publicly the romney campaign is on their we're going to win tour. their pay no attention to the polls tour. the, we're even going to win pennsylvania tour. that's what they're saying publicly. that's their public message. meanwhile the associated press publishes a story that's eerily similar to "the new york times" piece from 2008 about sarah palin's post-election defeat plan. this time, of course, it's paul ryan whose post-election future is being leaked about by his supporters who are fairly, clearly, assuming that romney and ryan are about to lose, and they need to think of something else for paul ryan to do because he's not going to be busy as vice president. quote, publicly ryan and his closest allies maintain that momentum is behind the romney/ryan ticket but ryan's biggest boosters realize he probably can write his own ticket, win or lose, on november 6th, this ryan allies spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private proposals they were preparing for him. if romney loses, ryan will be
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seen as a leading white house contender in 2016. just like sarah palin was in 2012. for the next few years, democrats would lay traps forcing them to take sides on measures to come back to haunt him during a presidential bid. that's why ryan's biggest boosters are considering whether it wouldn't be better for paul ryan to resign from the house. he could write a book, saving america is a theme often bandied about. or he could teach at a university. days before the election, paul ryan's supporters are leaking their plans to the press for what they want paul ryan to do since he's not going to be vice president. what they want paul ryan to do once he and mitt romney lose the election next week. i sort of can't believe it didn't get more attention when it came out yesterday afternoon. not only must it have caused some dyspepsia inside the romney campaign but it's also the purest and most direct rebuttal of that campaign's rather heroic efforts right now to project
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some superhuman confidence about how much they supposedly think they are going to win on tuesday. joining us is a man who is in the business of knowing who is going to win, nate silver, editor of the 538 calculus blog for "the new york times." he's also the author of the book "the signal and the noise" why most predictions fail, but some don't. thank you for being here. >> thank you, rachel. >> a lot of headlines say that since mitt romney is going to pennsylvania, that must mean that pennsylvania is in play. from the numbers, do you believe pennsylvania is in play? >> you had the list of 24 polls and none had romney ahead. there have been some polls, some by the state republican committee in pennsylvania that have romney up a couple of points there but no public pollster has had him with a lead all year. so it's not just that obama is up there, but it's a state where it's been very stable and very consistent in the polling. i think it might be more in play because i don't think they are conceding ohio. but they're worried about it and they need maybe a better plan "b" potentially. >> have you ever seen, or is there even at least sort of a famous circumstance in which all
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the polls consistently all year long pointed in one direction, and a partisan internal poll correctly predicted the results? >> yeah, that's almost always going to be wrong. especially when there's a consensus of 15 or 20 polls. maybe when you're in a senate race or something or a house race, where the public polls aren't as good. but the public polling is pretty reliable in pennsylvania. we know what the party bases are and where they live. this is why it's a state that always teases republicans, because it's a state where it's hard to -- they can get up to 48%, 49% pretty easily but it's really hard for them to get to 50%. unless because of the hurricane and where the power outages might be in the state, that could affect things potentially. but apart from that, it's a sign of a campaign that doesn't like the electoral map very much. >> what about the mantra that we've been hearing on the right. it stopped in the last few days, but this idea that mr. romney has momentum heading into the election day. so you shouldn't just look at the raw numbers, you should
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appreciate that there's momentum movement in the numbers that indicate that he's going to win. how do you assess that? >> today was emphatic proof that he does not have momentum. there were 19 polls released today in battleground states. and mitt romney led in zero of those polls. there were two ties and obama led in 17. that's not what we were seeing two weeks ago where romney pulled ahead in virginia and colorado and florida and had drawn ohio down to maybe a one-point lead for obama. if anything, obama has momentum. he was declared the winner by voters in the final two debates. i'm not sure how the hurricane is playing for him, but his numbers ticked up. that's why all these states that seem very toss up-y now seem like they're more firmly in the president's favor, at least in the polls. >> nate, let me just ask you, and i didn't warn you that i was going to ask you this so tell me if you don't want to answer it, but you have been the subject of a lot of criticism in this last week, in particular, as if what the polling model that you built
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at the "new york times" and the way that you explain the polling is somehow biased or wrong or evil. i feel like you are waging a one-man war against explaining how polling works and how averaging works. how has the week been? >> it's been a trip where you become a subject of conversation yourself and there's this kind of celebrity level attached to it that's very new for me. but there are other websites that do the same thing that we do. pollster.com and three or four others and they all show basically the same thing. there's no way to slice and dice the data in ohio or iowa or wisconsin right now and say that romney is winning there. in fact, the polls would have to mess up by quite a bit for that to occur. that could happen. there have been years like 1980 in which the race went way different than the polling. but we're now in the phase where it's no longer a question of who is ahead in the electoral college in the polls, so much as
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will the polls have a really bad year? and they could and we account for that possiblibility. but that's why you see some conservatives now are no longer bothering to say that we're winning in these states. they are saying that the polling is wrong. every now and then that's right. usually it's wishful thinking. >> nate silver you are a man at the center of the storm in a way that i bet you did not expect to be. thank you for continuing to be cogent and rational and patient throughout all of it. >> thank you, rachel. >> all right. nate's new book is called "the signal and the noise: why so many predictions fail but some don't." all right, some things do not change. bruce springsteen will always be awesome at benefit concerts. david axelrod will probably always have a giant cop mustache that looks like a push broom. and voting in florida will always be a mess. apparently. this year it is already to a degree you will not believe. that is just ahead.
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since there's five minutes between now and election day on tuesday, as best i can tell, and since we're already not sleeping, we figured why not. let's do a brand-new live show on sunday night. join us for a special live sunday night pre-election rachel maddow show at our regular time, 9:00 p.m. eastern, here on msnbc. sunday night. we'll reinvent weekends for next year. too much going on for that now. sunday night, we'll be here live. put it in your different. mind? ♪ announcing the all-new 2013 malibu from chevrolet. ♪ with a remarkable new interior featuring the available chevrolet mylink infotainment system. this is where sophisticated styling begins. and where it ends? that's up to you.
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september 10th, 2002. florida voters go to the polls for a primary. what they find is a mess. fancy new voting machines do not work. poll workers do not show up. entire polling places do not open. because voting that day is unexpectedly hard the lines are surprisingly long. florida's governor at the time was republican jeb bush. he orders the polls to stay open for two extra hours to help everybody who wants to vote vote. that was in 2002. in 2008, florida again sees epic lines at the polls, not just on the day of the general election but in the days before that during the time for early voting. people waited through lines that stretched through three city blocks. this is what it looks like in florida in 2008, even during early voting, which is supposed
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to make voting easier and the lines shorter in florida. florida's governor during that election was also a republican, charlie crist and he declared a state of emergency at the polls. republican governor charlie crist ordered the polls to stay open longer so people could vote. he said, quote, i have a responsibility to the voters of our state to ensure that the maximum number of citizens can participate in the electoral process and that every person can exercise the right to vote. the obama campaign thanks the republican governor when he did that and then with a significant boost from early voting, democrat barack obama won the state of florida and he won the presidency. oops. last year florida's new republican governor, governor rick scott, decided he was not going to make that mistake again. rather than expand opportunities for voting the way florida's two previous republican governors had done, the new one, republican governor rick scott, decided he would cut the days for early voting almost in half in order to make voting harder. look.
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at least that's how it works. tah-dah! long, long, long lines for early voting in polling places across florida. except this year it's long lines with no relief in sight. we have been getting pictures like this from voters who live in florida emp since early voting started in the state. this is how democracy works in florida this year. look at this. get in line. wait and wait. wait an hour. wait four hours. wait five hours. more. yesterday florida democrats and the nonpartisan group the league of women voters asked the republican governor rick scott to do something about the long lines. they asked him to add a day of voting, to open the polls on the last sunday before the election when many african-americans usually plan to carpool to go vote after church. governor scott said no. florida's governor said, "early voting will end on saturday night, but i want everybody to get out to vote." mr. scott wants everybody to get out and vote. just get in line. three, four, five hours, let's see how long we can make you wait. let's see if you actually end up
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voting. get in that line going out the door, around the block, governor scott is looking at five-hour waits for his constituents already for the people he was elected to serve. five-hour waits. and he has no sign of any desire to fix it. listen. the more opportunity people have to vote, the more likely they are to vote. high turnout favors democrats. low turnout favors republicans. this is not rocket science. to the extent that voting in florida this year is a debacle, it is a man-made debacle. it is a debacle by design. in some towns the ballot this year in florida is ten pages long. and filling it out takes longer, and with fewer days to vote, well, yeah, magic, you get really long lines. but that's the way it goes in florida now. leading up to the election, florida republicans cut the time for early voting in half. so now floridians stand in long lines. they pass new restriction on registering voters so thousands fewer new voters signed up. and governor scott has continued trying to purge the voter rolls
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in florida, challenging voter registrations in to the final weeks before the vote. in south florida and palm beach county 30,000 absentee ballots were printed wrong. clerks have been copying what the voters marked on to new ballots that can fit into the tabulating machines. dozens more voters asked for absentee ballots and still haven't gotten them, days much about the election. because palm beach screwed up the bar codes that tell the post offices where to deliver them. the situation is worse in nearby broward county, the democrat stronghold where voters have waited weeks for absentee ballots to arrive in the mail and 300 ballots got returned to the county as undeliverable. you can say that florida's election is another debacle in the making were it not already a debacle right now. and it is. joining us is joy reid. she's managing editor of thegrio.com and msnbc contributor who's been reporting on the unfolding election mess in florida. thank you for being here. it's nice to have you here. >> great to be here, rachel. yes, all florida.
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florida will not be moved aside by ohio. >> we believe in the power of florida here because florida has demonstrated its power. in terms of what i just summarized there, does it strike you in terms of your latest reporting as what's most important to keep an eye on? and what is your latest reporting on the missing absentee ballots and some of these other issues? >> absolutely, rachel. in the last couple hours, i made a couple of phone calls into south florida and discovered everything you said is absolutely accurate with one exception. there's actually one more county. apparently miami dade county is also having issues with people who requested absentee ballots. keep in mind some of these people requested that ballot a month ago. they requested it the beginning of october. and still haven't gotten them. if it's not returned by 7:00 p.m. on election day, tuesday, that doesn't mean postmarked, that means in the office on that day, it won't count. then the next wrinkle is that people who ordered their absentee ballots but decided to show up at a poll and try to vote will be made to vote on
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provisional ballots, because there's no way for the election workers to verify that that person didn't mail in an ap sentee ballot. and florida does not exactly have a strong record of counting provisional ballots. >> why does the government of florida not do more to make voting easier? we saw rick scott take action here, even more aggressively than other republican legislatures and governors did. he did this essentially on his own. he ordered that early voting be cut. has there been any argument from what they have done that is respectful of voting rights? >> no. i mean actually you talked about charlie crist earlier, and the fact that he did sign that executive order extending voting hours. that was the beginning of the end of charlie crist's tenure in the republican party. it was the beginning of the rupture with his party, because republicans in the state blamed crist for barack obama winning the state. so when i spoke with the former head of the republican party of florida, a guy named jim greer who is in his own trouble over charges about some illegal money
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thing that he was doing, but when he was running the party he told me that republican consultants came to him and said, we want to craft a bill that would get rid of early voting if we could, or severely cut it, because in the words of these consultants, according to jim greer, all it does is bring every african-american out from under a rock, that's a quote, and get them to vote for democrats. they don't vote for us, it doesn't help us. so the republican legislature which in 2010 became more tea party, more conservative, there's no margin in it for them to increase access to in-person early voting. what they did is passed a law that didn't touch absentee voting, which republicans tend to dominate in, but severely limited the early vote. just to give you some numbers, you're talking about there were 96 hours, there are 96 hours this year total to vote. there were 120 hours in 2008. and already in the state, 3.46 million people have voted. when you looked at the numbers, that's almost as many votes as barack obama got by himself. in the last presidential
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election, 4.3 million people, almost half of the people who voted, voted early. so this is really a problem. >> this is a problem and this is a problem not looking ahead to election day. it's a problem already in the way that it's affecting people who are trying to early vote. >> indeed. >> i feel like i'm not the drudge report and i am not a website, but if i could put a big siren over my head while saying this i would. >> i'd wear one, too. >> we'll have to get them. like little fez hats or something. joy, managing editor of thegrio.com, msnbc contributor, it's great to have you here. >> thank you. one more big story for you tonight about politics, about something that is essentially trying to be disappeared down the memory hole. something that is refusing to go down the memory hole, even though they are trying to shove it there. hold on. that's coming up. ah.
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in colorado president obama up by four. in iowa, president obama up by four. in wisconsin president obama up by seven points. in new hampshire the president leading in six points. in ohio president obama leading by two points in one poll and by three points in another poll. in virginia president obama leading by one point. in florida president obama leading by two points. one state that's not a swing state this year but that president obama made into a swing state in 2008 is the great state of indiana. indiana flipped from red to blue in the presidential contest. president obama is not necessarily expected to pull off the same thing this year in indiana. but this year there's a really hot race in indiana in the senate. after a tea party primary cost senator richard lugar his senate job, the republican candidate in indiana ended up being the guy on the left side of your screen richard mourdock. he's up against a centrist
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moderate democrat named joe donnelly, the guy on the right side of your screen. since mr. mourdock said when women are raped and become pregnant as a result of that rape, that is something god intended, since he made those remarks at a debate in a few weeks ago, in very, very, very, very red state indiana, the republican candidate, richard mourdock, is now behind in that state senate race. he's losing the race by double digits. here's the interesting thing about that poll, though. it's a poll in indiana, which almost never happens. it's really weird, but nobody nationally never knows what's going on in indiana politics because they don't poll in indiana. in indiana, it's illegal to make calls for telemarketing purposes and for public opinion surveys like polling. you can't use an auto dialing device unless the subscriber has consented to being contacted or a live operator gets on the line and gets consent that way.
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since that makes traditional polling hard and expensive, there is very little polling in indiana. it's kind of a weird detail about this election, right? but while we're on the subject of weird details, check out this ballot in north carolina. north carolina is one of more than a dozen states where they have straight ticket voting. that's where you say, already, everybody with an "r" next to their name, or everybody with a "d" next to their name, that's who i'm voting for. i want all the republicans, or i want all the democrats. but there's a bizarre catch to straight ticket voting in north carolina. north carolina is the only state where voting for a straight ticket does not include the presidential race. so you have to vote for the straight ticket and then in addition to that, you also have to cast another vote for president. if you just vote straight ticket democratic, you do not cast a vote for barack obama for president. counterintuitive, right? but you have to do that separately, in addition. so it's not really straight ticket voting. it's straight ticket plus the president voting.
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okay. i said weird details. here's something weirder. vermont. this is vermont governor peter shumlin. he's the favorite to win the most votes in the governor's race. he leads in the polls by more than 30 points. but that may not be enough. the vermont state constitution requires a candidate for governor to get 50% plus one vote. even though governor shumlin is leading by 30 points, he has four opponents. so if those four opponents get a combined 50% of the vote between them, governor shumlin will not be re-elected no matter how big the margin he wins by. in that case with nobody getting 50%, it's the state legislature that would get to pick the next governor of vermont. that could happen. it has happened very recently. some of the most interesting still undecided races from yesterday's elections after the governor's seat. this afternoon nbc news declaring peter shumlin the winner in vermont. vermont's first democratic
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governor in eight years. what's interesting about that is that even though peter shumlin the democrat won, he did not get 50% of the vote. under vermont's state rules, that means technically the legislature picks who wins the race. that's how he got elected in the first place. two months after that, the vermont legislature did what vermonters had already done. they picked peter shumlin to be governor. the final vote in the legislature was 145-28. which means 28 people in the vermont legislature voted to elect somebody who the people of vermont did not vote for. a gentle reminder that states run elections, not the federal government. elections are sometimes messy, and governed by weird rules. but they are always fun, and worth whatever effort it takes. even if that effort this year includes filling out two bubbles. two of them. two. i'm looking at you, north carolina. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink.
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the question for this election in my view is this, you want to stay on the same course we're on, or do you want real change? because we represent real change. paul ryan and i plan on putting in place real change from day one. accomplishing real change is something i don't just talk about, it's something i've done. the question of this election comes down to this, do you want more of the same, or do you want real change? and we bring real change. >> spare change? real change. that was mitt romney's closing argument today in wisconsin and ohio. a vote for me is a vote for real change.
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tonight just outside cincinnati the romney campaign attempted to underscore that message by holding a big mega rally at a giant town square in westchester, ohio, a mega rally featuring nearly 100 governors, senators, congressmen, mayors, and other republican luminaries. 100 republican surrogates all there in person. to talk about the real change that you will get if you elect mitt romney. so who exactly did mitt romney enlist to sell this message of what real change he is offering america? the headliners were george w. bush's secretary of state, george w. bush's secretary of labor, george w. bush's homeland security director, george w. bush's budget director. and last but not least, the current republican speaker of the house! mitt romney, change you can believe in, if you really like george w. bush, and if you like the current republican congress. then we're the kind of real change you're looking for. who cast this thing?
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the democrats? one of the reasons that the message of real change resonated so much back in 2008, one of the reasons that that actually worked for barack obama in that election, is because the country writ large had ceased to be delighted by the george w. bush administration. and it was not just the war in iraq. or the great recession. or warrantless wiretapping. or torture, or, or, or, or, or. it was also stuff like this. this is the u.s. state department's annual report on global terrorism from 2003. every year the state department will put together a report like this detailing incidents of terrorism around the world. and the next report after this one, the one that was slated for 2004, showed that despite the bush administration's claims that we were winning the war on terror, despite those constant claims, the number of terrorist attacks had actually gone up to its highest level in the two decades the state department had been publishing this report. what was the bush administration's solution to that problem?
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their solution was to stop publishing the report. the push administration just eliminated that annual terrorism report once it included something very politically inconvenient. the bush administration had a habit of doing that. you don't like the data being provided. get rid of the data. a year earlier the bush administration, which was a big proponent of charter schools, they were faced with a new report from their own education department showing that charter school kids were falling behind public school kids. how do you deal with your own administration's data on underperforming charter schools? well, you cut back on the data that you collect about charter schools. the bush administration just announced they'd be collecting less data going forward. in 2003, after a bush administration labor department report detailed mass layoffs in the manufacturing sector, the bush administration just announced that they were going to stop publishing information about mass layoffs in the manufacturing sector. their approach was essentially, we get rid of the data pointing to a problem, maybe the problem
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won't look so bad. if a report tells you something you don't want to hear, the obvious move is to just get rid of the report. this was just a hallmark of the george w. bush administration. and it appears to be one of the things that romney liked very much about the george w. bush administration. at least appears to be one of the things he's promising to bring back. you don't like the data presented, then kill the report. after the totally unimpeachbly nonpartisan and widely respected tax policy center did a report that concluded that mitt romney's tax plan would be great for rich people, and would hurt everybody else, the romney campaign's response to that was to go guns blazing against the nonpartisan tax policy center. just attacking them as an institutions. you don't like the message, shoot the messenger. last month after the bureau of labor statistics announced that the unemployment rate was going down, do you remember what the response was on the right? the right started attacking the bureau of labor statistics, as if they were the problem,
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because they said the unemployment rate was going down. it used to be that democrats and republicans would argue about how best to deal with some factual thing, some problem facing the nation. now, republicans do it differently. they do it differently than everybody else. this is not a mirror image problem on both sides. republicans do a specific thing. they refuse to acknowledge that a factual thing is a factual thing. and this phenomenon on the right, that we got so familiar with under the george w. bush administration, but that they are still doing, it was brought to a whole new level last week when it was revealed by "the new york times" that a nonpartisan tax report was withdrawn by a federal agency because republicans protested its findings. the federal agency in question here is the congressional resource service. they're kind of the gold standard. they're congress -- essentially congress' internal think tank. members of congress have question about some policy or some issue it's the congressional research service that looks into it for them and they issue a report on it in response to a member of congress asking for that report.
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the congressional research service is as nonpartisan as it gets in washington. they're nothing but the facts, integrity is unimpeachable. a little more than a month ago they issued a report on tax policy. they found that there is no connection between lowering the tax rates on millionaires and billionaires, and creating economic growth. there's no evidence whatsoever that if you cut taxes on the rich, that makes the economy grow. and that's a problem, right? because that is essentially mitt romney's whole reason for living. this is the republican party's economic reason for existing. it is all premised on this idea that if you cut taxes on the rich, the job creators, right, that will jump-start the economy. this is the whole basics of the party's economic philosophy. the entire economic basis on which mitt romney is running for president. this is why congressional republicans pledge their first born children to a man named grover. and here comes this nonpartisan, highly respected, unimpeachable agency that says we looked into it, turns out the whole thing is
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bunk. giving rich people a huge tax break doesn't help the economy but it sure does help rich people. so what do you do if you're the republican party? well you pressure that agency into burying the report. which is exactly what republicans in congress did this fall. "the new york times" is now reporting that shortly after senate republican aides started complaining about the report and its findings, the congressional research service, this august, widely respected institution, quietly withdrew their entire report. reportedly against the advice of their own economic experts. this is amazing, right? the report tells you something you do not want to hear, get rid of the report. especially if that report is coming out on the eve of a big election, and it debunks your candidate's whole economic argument. luckily, breaking news, the report does still exist. you can find it right now. you can read it right now. it's not very long. it's written in plain language. you can find it right now at maddowblog.com. and there's nothing that senate republicans can do to st